Monday, December 3, 2012

THE (failproof) Chocolate Cake

"Let's face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me."
Audrey Hepburn

This classic Hershey's recipe never fails to make a fantastic Chocolate Cake.  Taken from the copy of Hershey's 100th Anniversary Cookbook which Hershey's sent me in 1994 when I called for this recipe because I'd once again lost the note I'd scrawled it on (I haven't lost the recipe since, but sometimes I have a hard time finding the book so it's getting put here for further safekeeping).


Hershey's Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

2 cups Sugar
1 3/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa or Hershey's European Style Cocoa*
1 1/2  teaspoons Baking Powder
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs
1 cup Milk
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 cup Boiling Water

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour two 9 inch round cake pans.
In a large mixer bowl, stir together sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla;  beat on mediun speed of electric mixer 2 minutes.
Stir in water.  (Batter will be thin.)
Pour evenly into prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool 10 minutes;  remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

This recipe is stolen directly from Hershey's, and here's proof:

To finish off as we do our Chocolate Birthday Cakes:
When the cake is completely cooled ~
Shave or grate a bar of a good chocolate*, milk or dark, your choice.
Wash and hull a quarter flat of fresh strawberries (you can manage with less if you don't live in strawberry country during strawberry season).
Slice most of them. Leave the handsome-est ones to decorate cake top.
Whip 1 pint heavy cream with 2 Tbsp powdered sugar and 2 tsp vanilla.
Smooth a layer of whipped cream on top of the bottom half of the cake.
Layer as many strawberry slices as you can on top of the whipped cream.
Smooth a little more whipped cream over the slices to fill in the spaces.
If you have plenty of strawberries you can do another layer of them if you like, and smooth a little more whipped cream over them.
Place the second half of the cake on top of the first.
"Ice" with whipped cream, either top only or top and sides.
Decorate the top with more strawberry slices and whole strawberries.
Sprinkle generously with shaved chocolate.
Add mint sprigs if you grow it!
Serve any remaining strawberries on the side.



The batter will be seriously thin. It may look like chocolate water. You will wonder what I've gotten you into and how this could possibly turn out any sort of cake instead of chocolate soup, much less the failproof and wonderful chocolate cake I've promised. Just go ahead and put it in the oven; I don't know how, but it will be cake.

In this recipe we use:
Sugar ~ Organic Evaporated Cane Juice.
All-Purpose Flour ~ Organic Unbleached Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour (or organic unbleached all-purpose or white whole-wheat flour).
Cocoa ~ Slavery-Free*.  This is Hershey's recipe so I copied it out faithfully.
Eggs ~ Organic preferably Free-Range  (When we can, we buy eggs from a lady at the local farmer's market who lets her chickens roam her organic orchards which she also underplants with organic crops, optimizing land use and produciong the best eggs we've ever had, naturally high in Omega oils and other nutrients.)
Milk ~ Organic real dairy milk.
Oil ~ Safflower or Sunflower, or some other good light oil;  NOT canola, soybean, or "vegetable" oils or blends.
Water ~ Filtered.  Our tap water is very hard, tastes horrendous, and smells like bleach.   We have a good filter; we drink and cook with filtered water only.

*Please assure your Cocoa and Chocolate is from a slave-free source in order to not unwittingly further brutal modern-day slavery of children. How? Purchase chocolate that is identified as fair-trade, organic, or country of origin outside of the Ivory Coast. For more information see Is There Slavery In Your Chocolate?

I am very happy that Hershey's is taking steps in the right direction and hope that they continue to do so until all their products are assuredly slave-free and ethically traded.

I will give you a big kiss (or not if you don't want me to) if you
Call Hershey's or Send Hershey's an Email to thank them for the steps they've taken thus far and to let them know you'd appreciate, purchase, and recommend a Hershey's Cocoa Powder with assurance on the label by which you can easily identify that it is essentially slave-free and fairly traded.

Obviously this is a Normies-Only cake, and I and our gluten-free-ers do not eat it.  You'll never find a "gluten free version" of this cake on this blog, with all those GF flours and starches and gums; they're all a hundred thousand times more poisonous to me than wheat so I really don't want all that stuff floating about my kitchen, therefore you will never get such recipes from me. Besides, I haven't the patience to deal with the multiplicity of ingredients and careful mixing needed for it. My apologies to anyone hoping for such things.


Chocolate Cake Ramblings and Choco Choco Latte Entertainment

   (I'm working on restoring my few original posts; I've reposted the first recipe but haven't got the second yet, this was the third. Since it is one of my grandchildren's birthdays, it's getting baked, and since it's getting baked it's getting reposted)

Three makes a grouping.  This is what I keep reading in Home Decorating articles anyway.  And groupings are good, according to those same articles.  It stands to reason, then, since I started off with two chocolate recipes, that I add a third and make it a grouping.  And since it is April, I knew just the recipe to post.  You see, April is birthday month here in the household.  We have quite the concentration of birthdays, so much so that we've finally begun to have one dinner to celebrate them all.  One dinner and one chocolate birthday cake.  It has to be chocolate,  All our birthday cakes have to be chocolate.  And not only chocolate, but a very particular Chocolate Birthday Cake.

It all started with our second child's first and my brother's twenty-seventh birthday (she had been his birthday gift the previous year), and all the family on both sides were gathering at our house to celebrate.  As it happens we live in a major strawberry producing area, and strawberries are in season in April, and we love strawberries.  Fresh strawberries.  What does one do when, at the height of strawberry season, one must bake birthday cake for two birthday persons and a lot of fresh-strawberry loving chocoholics?  What I did was bake chocolate cake, layer it with lots of sliced strawberries and whipped cream, ice it with more whipped cream, decorate it with more strawberries, then sprinkle it with lots of grated chocolate.  The chocolate cake baked up wonderfully and my strawberry and whipped cream treatment was declared brilliant (it's an odd world where such a simple thing is declared brilliant).

Henceforth the same Chocolate Cake was requested birthday after birthday, year after year, every birthday every year.  Which is great because it eliminates the stress of What to Make for a special somebody's big day.  But all was not as well as all that. 

Once upon a time in the distant and almost forgotten past, when I could actually eat the chocolate cakes I baked, I would fret over the outcome of said chocolate cakes;  I could not find a recipe that came out really well every time.  Oh they'd come out great sometimes - moist and fluffy and delicious like that first cake - but then the weather or the oven or something, anything, would be somehow different and they'd come out dry or not rise or some horrible thing, so it seemed like every birthday I'd looking for a more reliable chocolate cake recipe.  Then one birthday, while fretting over what chocolate cake recipe to prepare, I happened to be talking on the phone with my dear good friend, who has the uncanny knack for knowing the best of everything, and mentioned my chocolate cake worries.  She read to me the recipe for what she stated to be The Best and Most Reliable Chocolate Cake Recipe Ever, guarenteed to come out wonderfully every single time - a very important trait in a mandatory Chocolate Birthday Cake indeed.  That was over twenty years ago.  And it has been the recipe used for the chocolate cake in our Chocolate Birthday Cakes ever since, though now only for our normies' birthdays; I still have to fret over what to make for our gluten free folk.

Here is another grouping, three videos of the same song:

 for those who just want their chocolate
for those willing to dance for their chocolate
 for those who will really workout for their chocolate

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